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There are a lot of landscape ‘buzzwords’ out there right now: 

  • Xeriscape
  • Sustainable
  • Eco or Earth friendly
  • Native
  • Drought and freeze tolerant

But what do they all really mean, and how do they apply to landscaping here in Central Florida? 

We have a unique sub tropical climate...

We also have alot of flexibility in plant choice

However, plants must endure:

  • Freezing temperatures
  • Searing heat
  • Extended droughts
  • Heavy rains
  • Sandy soil conditions

These conditions present many challenges in selection & establishment of plants that will last

My graduate studies in Environmental Horticulture have prepared me to help you:

  • Understand what all the 'buzzwords' actually mean and what the benefit is to you
  • Understand what potential savings you can realize with in concert with landscape improvements
  • Understand what your rights are under Florida law
  • Achieve the landscape you want

Some bases to cover first:

Site/Property Boundary Survey- this is the survey that you received with the legal documents when you purchased your home. The survey shows your property boundaries and the location of your home on the lot.

HOA Codes- If you live in a neighborhood community with HOA landscape codes or regulations review the codes before beginning to plan to make sure you understand restrictions.  It is important to begin with your HOA committee contact.  Get started early in the process.  Your HOA is tasked with the job of keeping your neighborhood looking neat and presentable.  It is important to find out the details of the submission process & what type of information is required before work can begin.

The process:  Tell me what you really want:

It is important to recall what initially sparked your desire to perform a landscape renovation.  Typically there is a particular concern such as sod that simply won’t do well or the desire for more privacy or less maintenance. !  My goal is to make sure you get exactly what you want.  Please tell me in as much detail as you prefer what your goals are.  Once we understand the basis for beginning the process, we can collaborate to make sure your goals are met. 

What happens next:

I take this information home and use it to design your landscape.  Once this process is complete, we meet again so that I can walk you through it.  At this time we can discuss options.  If there is anything you do not like, please make sure to tell me.  I want to know!  Again, my goal is to make sure you get exactly what you want.  Please tell me in as much detail as you prefer what your goals are.

Cost Estimate:

At this point, if there are not too many changes, we will be able to discuss a solid estimate of the cost of the proposed project.  If we decide some major changes in the design are best, the cost estimate will follow.

Once you approve the plans and estimate:

We set the work schedule.  The construction schedule will explain when the clean out and prep begins, the delivery of supply, and date of completion.  I organize my work and help so that the schedule does not spread the project out too long, and I am typically done in just a few days.  Weather delays may disrupt this schedule.  I will be communicating with you throughout the process.

Some things to keep in mind: Use a local nursery

  • My favorite is:
  • Big box stores buy in quantity, so plant varieties they stock may not be best for our zone
  • Local nurseries, like South Seminole, have helpful and knowledgeable staff

Observe how your local ecosystem works naturally

  • A yard is a managed ecosystem, a smaller part of a larger whole
  • Observe plants that are successful now, and try to use them more
  • Translate these observations to the landscape design
  • Designs should incorporate maintenance considerations/preferences
  • Therefore, you should know ahead of time what to expect for maintenance

Consider the Idea of a “Paradigm Shift” in the Landscape

There are alternatives to a turf dominant landscape

  • What can we do?
  • Instead of what you can’t do
  • Native & Florida Friendly planting arrangements that look better than turf

This is a productive mindset with all the existing & impending restrictions from:

  • Home Owners Associations
  • State & local regulations
  • Climate changes
  • Limited resource availability